tv The Last Word MSNBC March 12, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
we have breaking news at this hour. all national advertising has been suspended on the rush limbaugh radio show. we will be covering that in detail, and we've got presidential campaign news with the republican nomination turning into a complicated math problem. willard m. romney seems to think the solution is cheesy grits. >> morning, y'all. good to be with you. >> just 24 hours from two important southern primaries. >> tomorrow's southern showdown. >> romney leads with 31, but right behind him gingrich at 30.
>> newt's got to show well in alabama and mississippi. >> i think the big surprise is how well mitt romney seems to be doing. >> mitt is predicting a victory in the alabama contest. >> mitt romney needs to prove he can win in the south. >> so let's talk math, shall we? >> the official delegate count is romney at 377, santorum at 146. >> romney's delegate lead being virtually unbeatable. >> a lot of these delegates are uncommitted. >> rick santorum is not giving up on this math question. >> the math is not the issue. >> it really is. >> the issue is vision. >> mitt romney's math is just like mitt romney's conservatism. it's bogus. >> it's keeping romney from willing. >> willard has managed to turn on the southern charm. >> eating grits, i think cheesy grits he called them. >> i've got to start this morning with biscuits and cheesy grits. >> cheesy grits. >> it's not cheesy grits, it's cheese grits. >> the pander fest that's been coming out of his mouth has been
pretty stunning. >> if you're going to pander, at least get it right. >> it's pandering and there is a difference. >> that kind of stuff doesn't really go over well in the deep south. >> it's like we're watching romney on safari in his own country. >> it's not what the voters want. >> i can't get him to stop watching msnbc which only makes him more miserable. the republican nomination is all about the delegates now. and it's beginning to look like no one will have enough. >> can you imagine anything that would be a bigger gift to barack obama than us not having a nominee until the end of august? >> no, i cannot imagine a bigger gift to the obama re-election campaign, and that is now a serious possibility. rick santorum's delegate strategist, john yaub, who served in a similar president, today said the delegate race is currently much closer than some would like people to believe.
it will get closer as actual national convention delegates are elected at county, district and state conventions across the country. they represent the conservative majority of the republican party, and that is a huge problem for a moderate candidate like mitt romney. rick santorum likes his chances going into an open convention. >> when we go to this convention, if that's where we end up, it's a conservative party. they're not going to nominate. if the opportunity provides itself at an open convention, they are not going to nominate a moderate massachusetts governor. >> and the moderate massachusetts governor continues to insist that his inevitability makes him inevitable. >> we have a selection process. we're in the middle of it. i'm leading it strongly. i'm going to continue to lead it. you're going to see me getting the delegates i need to become the nominee, and we sure as heck are not going to go to a convention all the way to the end of august to select a
nominee and have campaign -- working during a convention. >> all right. let's take a look at how the delegate count looks now. the total needed for the nomination is 1,144. mitt romney leads with 377. rick santorum is second with 146. newt gingrich has 112. and ron paul has so far a meaningless collection of 31 delegates. from his position in third place, newt gingrich still sees a clear path to the nomination. >> people shouldn't take these delegate counts too seriously. governor romney has a very limited number of delegates who are legally bound to him. this is probably going to go on at least into june and july. my commitment's going to be to reach out to every delegate who's not legally bound. there are lots of delegates who you pick, but they're not legally required to be for their candidate. >> tomorrow republicans in alabama, mississippi and hawaii will vote. a robo poll of likely alabama primary voters shows romney, santorum and gingrich in a
virtual three-way tie. the only certainty in alabama is a last place finish for ron paul. the same goes for mississippi. where robo polls show paul in a distant fourth. gingrich and romney are in a statistical tie for the lead with rick santorum polling third just outside the margin of error. joining me now is rick tyler, a senior adviser for the pro-gingrich super pac winning our future and hogan gidley, communications director for the santorum campaign. and msnbc political analyst steve schmidt, former adviser to john mccain's 2008 campaign and strategy in the bush/cheney 2004 campaign. thank you all for joining me. steve, i want to start with you. you have your former delegate counter now doing the job for rick santorum. this is a very, very tricky process in a tricky science, and this year it seems more complicated than ever with proportional share.
how do you see this thing playing out between now and the convention? >> well, mitt romney's ahead, but the inevitability argument starts to collapse, lawrence, as we get into this math equation. and in the republican party, you have two highly credible people on the political side. rich beason for the romney campaign, john yaub for the santorum campaign. and the representations by both campaigns have made the issue murky enough that it collapses the rationale around why rick santorum should get out of the race. and it's totally unclear, i think, if you look at this honestly whether you believe that mitt romney's going to be able to accumulate the necessary delegates to nominate by the end of the voting portion of the campaign. i do agree that if the campaign goes into the convention, the campaign's going to the convention without a clear nominee, and that's decided at the convention. i think that's a huge problem for the party for the november election. and, of course, for speaker
gingrich, you know, he has said in the past that to remain credible, he needed to win georgia. he did just that. he said that he's needed to win these southern states, and we'll see tomorrow how he does in those states. i think all of the candidates need to keep winning and accumulating delegates at this point in the race to keep going forward and have a rationale to move their campaigns forward. >> hogan gidley, for the santorum campaign, is the realistic approach now not so much winning the delegates necessary to lock up the nomination, but simply preventing romney from getting to that magic number and going into an open convention? >> well, both, actually, lawrence. and thanks for having me. i think that we can easily stop mitt romney from getting that 1144. the dirty little secret that mitt romney won't tell anybody is he keeps saying that newt gingrich and rick santorum can't get to 1,144. the secret is he can't either. and he has yet to unify the space.
and for the reasons that we've heard already on the show, that those delegates are not bound in many of those states. he's actually counting delegates including states like florida and arizona as winner-take-all states when they're not, when they broke the rnc rules, the rules state they now have to be proportional, and he's counting these delegates he doesn't actually have in his back pocket at this point. in addition to those points, a lot of these delegates he's talking about haven't even been elected at their state conventions yet. so there's a long way to go in this game. we've got a whole another half to play, and we're going to keep playing. >> and hogan, a week before the convention, the committee meets to decide how to award some of the disputed delegate allotments that we've seen already, including florida, say. and so you're going to be making a case there, romney's going to be making a case there, the gingrich campaign will be making a case there about how to divide these up. the numbers we're looking at right now, even though we present them as solid numbers, could shift in that week before
the convention when the committee that decides the final count for some of these states rules. isn't that the way it's going to work? >> absolutely. and you know, it's so funny because you just played a clip early in the show about mitt romney saying this is pretty much over. it's inevitable. if that's the case, what's he doing building up teams, spending money in states? why isn't he home at one of his houses on either coast enjoying life just as it is today? he's still continuing to fight this battle because he's concerned. he knows if this goes to the floor, if this goes into committee, that at these conventions, there are more conservatives there than moderates. and he's going to have a serious problem if we go up to that convention with as many or more delegates than he has, and we're going to have the team on the ground and have the votes because at the end of the day, the conservative party is going to nominate a conservative and not someone who's lined up with barack obama on the major issues of the day.
>> let's talk about who really is at that convention. there was a great piece in "slate today" about this process. and i think there's something in this piece, the most detailed thing i've read yet about how this thing works. there's something in there for every campaign to like. but here's what he said about who's really going to end up deciding this. he said, "when advisers to newt gingrich or rick santorum talk about the unbound delegate pool, they make it sound like it's a huge group of swing voters ready to be persuaded by the best argument. that's not quite right. most are technically free to do as they please, but they are a romney-leaning group. what do you say to dickerson's point there? >> well, how can that be true? a lot of the delegates, as hogan said, haven't been picked yet. look, the establishment's in a panic, and the establishment is now trying to control the rnc convention. that's going to be the next big fight. the second is to actually go into the states and get delegates elected who you think
will vote for you. the truth is no delegate is bound either on the first vote or the second vote. but let's just say they're bound on the first vote. if mitt romney fails the first vote, which i predict he will, how enthusiastic do you think they'll be to vote for him in a second vote? i think it is rick santorum's best chance to get the nomination, and i think similarly it might be gingrich's best chance to get the nomination, although i do believe gingrich could beat romney in a one-on-one. >> let's hear what rick santorum said tonight. >> i think the people of alabama and mississippi are figuring out if they want a challenger in the general election, we've got to get this race in a one-on-one. and since the first four primaries are over, we've either finished first or second in every single state. gingrich has only finished first in his home state, hasn't finished above third anywhere else. >> if we go into an open convention, what is going to persuade delegates to line up behind one of these guys?
is it going to be speeches? is it going to be, you know, the kind of thing, the kind of emotional-rousing moments that we get out of some of these debate performances we've seen, or is it going to be backroom mechanics running around, making deals? how would you imagine this thing getting solved? >> i think we're in totally uncharted territory, if that happens. it's anyone's guess, and it's probably a combination of all of the above, lawrence. but if none of the campaigns get the requisite number of delegates to be nominated, i think the important thing is to understand we're just in uncharted territory. and i think that there's a huge number of dynamics that begin to take place. i do think that if governor romney goes into the convention with the lead, that doesn't necessarily advantage him as rick just pointed out once the voting begins on the ballots. i just think it's wide open. it's jump ball. anything can happen at that point. >> rick tyler, would you expect newt gingrich and rick santorum
and possibly mitt romney to ask to address the convention early on, perhaps right after that first ballot? >> well, the rnc has rules about that. the truth is, if you win five states, just the plurality in the five states, you have equal access to the convention floor and all the resources. that's why i say it's going to be a big fight over who gets control of the floor and who gets to speak and how much time they get. the rules state if you get a certain number of states, just the plurality in those states, that you have equal access to all the conventions, time, allocation, resources, all of it. so we'll just see what's going to happen. it's going to be very interesting. >> rick tyler and hogan gidley, hang in there. we really want to see this. we really want to see that open convention. thank you very much and thank you for joining us tonight. >> i'm sure you do, lawrence. >> steve schmidt, hang around, we're going to come back and talk about "game change" and john mccain's reaction and your participation.
we'll see more of steve. coming up, the politics of religion and what southern republicans think of president obama's religion and mitt romney's religion. and we do have breaking news developments in rush limbaugh's advertising problem. a report tonight that national advertising on his radio show is being suspended. we'll have more on that. and in "the rewrite," romney tells the media a lie today knowing he can get away with it because the press does not know how to call a lie a lie. this is delicious okay... is this where we're at now? we just eat whatever tastes good? like these sweet honey clusters... actually there's a half a day's worth of fiber in every ... why stop at cereal? bring on the pork chops and the hot fudge. fantastic. are you done sweetie? yea [ male announcer ] fiber one.
the real world. it has under-seat storage to bring everything, available seating for up to seven people to take everyone, and the grip of available all-wheel drive to go everywhere. think of it as a search engine helping you browse the real world. this march, get no extra charge third-row seating plus 0% financing on dodge journey. do you think mitt romney's religion will be an issue in your state, governor? >> well, i think that's a very subtle issue that probably may be a problem in many states, not just in alabama. but i do believe that republicans are looking to see who can win the presidency. and they're going to look at that more than anything else.
>> in tonight's episode of the politics of religion, we see that the front-runner for the republican nomination has a religion problem, and the only runner for the democratic nomination does, too. a public policy poll of republican primary voters in alabama where they will be voting tomorrow found that only 14% accept president obama's constant professions that he is a christian. 45% are convinced president obama is a muslim. and 41% of the utterly confused alabama republicans say they are simply not sure what the president's religion is. across the border in mississippi where they will also be voting tomorrow, it looks even worse for the president. a mere 12% accept president obama's statements that he is a christian, and a clear majority of 52% are convinced president obama is a muslim with 36% saying they're not sure. the politics of religion came up
today in an interview president obama did with the nbc affiliate in des moines, iowa. >> you have professed your faith, and yet there are republicans in iowa and elsewhere who use words like you are waging a war on religion. what do you think is the relationship, the proper relationship, between faith and politics? >> obviously, my own personal faith is very important to me. you know, i think the proper role here is to recognize that faith-based groups can do a lot of good out there that informs our values in who we are as a people, but when we start using religion as a bludgeon in politics, when we start questioning other people's faith, we start using religion to divide instead of bring the country together, then i think we've got a problem. >> and if you think the president has problems, on friday, on alabama radio, mitt romney was asked about mormon theology on "the rick & bubba show."
>> evangelical christians don't always agree that mormons are also christians, it's just another denomination. and one of those issues concerns israel. i have friends who are mormons, and sometimes i get a feeling that the mormon faith calls america the promised land, not israel, therefore they almost feel like that our biblical mandate to always support israel is not necessarily in play anymore. where do you stand on israel? >> i am without question committed to israel, as a jewish nation. >> one more time before we go because again this is something we're going to face. do you as a mormon believe america is the new promised land, yes or no? >> you know, you're going to have to go talk to the church and ask what they think about that. there's no question about the fact that israel is the promised land. that's what the bible tells us. and my guess is other lands are promised to other people.
>> joining me now is e.j. dionne, "washington post" columnist, also an msnbc political analyst. e.j., what other lands are promised to what other people? where are we going there? >> well, you know, i mean, it is -- i couldn't help but think that when president obama was asked about american exceptionalism, he thought other countries felt they were exceptional, too. so romney's going to issue a statement backtracking from that particular statement. but, you know, i do think religion has played a real role in these primaries already. you did a little essay the other night on that polling question about whether the religion of a candidate matters to a voter a great deal? some? not much? or not at all? if you look across the states, the voters who have said the religion of the candidate matters a great deal to them have given very few votes to mitt romney in these republican primaries, 10% to 20%. the difference between santorum winning tennessee and losing ohio is a lot more voters in
tennessee and oklahoma cared about a candidate's religion. and how much of this is anti-mormonism? well, i think there is some anti-mormon sentiment out there, and i must say, i don't agree with mitt romney a lot, but i don't think people should be voting against him because of his religion. we thought we might have settled that in the john kennedy election in 1960. >> well, it turns out we settled nothing back then. or maybe we settled it for a few decades, e.j. you never heard candidates for president being asked any questions about religion until we got well into the 1990s. it really, i think, got -- there was a little moment with jimmy carter where he explained that he was a born-again christian. we all kind of went, uh, what's that, exactly? oh, yeah, we get it. but then it passed. and then we didn't hear anything about it for decades. >> we go through phases of this. the 1928 election with al smith
was dominated by cultural issues, notably should we have prohibition or not, and by smith's catholicism. then along came the great depression. and as a roosevelt supporter said, i don't know why we're fighting about prohibition when nobody can afford the price of a drink. and these cultural and religious issues receded. and i think kennedy got elected in the middle of this period when, after world war ii, we felt very unified, all those world war ii films show a jew, an italian and an irish guy fighting together in the war, and then it started up again, the cultural politics in the late '70s. i thought it was going to recede in this great recession. it hasn't nearly to the degree i expected. and in this republican primary, it's come back in a really big way. not only because mitt romney is a mormon, but also because rick santorum's candidacy is rooted in religious sentiment. >> yeah, it is amazing that
these reporters are going to get, you know, a couple of questions in their lives, you know, with a presidential candidate, and they're going to waste it on his religion. it's just amazing. e.j. dionne of "the washington post," thank you very much for joining me tonight. >> good to be with you. coming up, we do have breaking news on the advertising stampede away from rush limbaugh. we've just learned that national advertising on the rush limbaugh radio show has been suspended. that's going to be next when we come back. and in "rewrite," mitt romney turned 65 today and celebrated his eligibility for medicare by lying about medicare, knowing full well that the press will let him get away with it. [ female announcer ] wish you had that list huh? the one you swore you could memorize. that's the all-natural straight from the earth sugar she puts on her grapefruit. but is she eating sugar this week? she ate pizza. but she did blot it with a napkin.
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it is priest who refused communion at the funeral of her own mother because that woman is a lesbian has now been removed from the church and placed on leave pending an investigation. barbara johnson joined me here on "the last word" to explain that the priest, during her mother's funeral mass last month, told her that he could not give her communion because she was living with another woman. the priest then walked off the altar when barbara johnson gave the eulogy, and the priest then refused to go to the cemetery for the burial. the archdiocese that oversees that church in maryland sent a letter to the church which cited allegations of intimidation of church staff as the reason for
the priest's suspension, the letter does not cite his unwillingness to give communion to barbara johnson or any of his actions on that day. and the archdiocese says it will have no further comment on the matter. barbara johnson sent us a statement late today. "while we understand this letter does not pertain to the events that occurred at our mother's funeral, we are hopeful that bishop knestout's decision will ensure that no others will have to undergo the traumatic experiences brought upon our family. we urge all catholics to put aside political points of view and pray that our church will remain in christ's love." coming up, we have breaking news that national advertising has been suspended tonight on rush limbaugh's radio show. that's next. and in "the rewrite," mitt romney is now basing his run for the presidency on the big lie. his biggest lie and the political press will let him get
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show told its affiliate radio stations that they are suspending national advertising for two weeks. rush limbaugh is normally provided to affiliates for free in return for running several minutes of national advertisements provided by premier each hour. these ads are called barter spots. these spots are how premier makes its money on the rush limbaugh radio show and other shows it syndicates. joining me now on the phone is tom taylor, editor of radioinfo.com. tom, tell us what -- you broke this story tonight on the limbaugh suspension of national advertising. this comes after a weekend of more criticism of rush limbaugh. what does this mean to his program? >> well, hi, lawrence. first of all, let me explain what it does not cover.
in fact, i'm looking at the note from premier networks which is owned by clear channel, by the way. what it says is this suspension does not apply to in-program commercials provided by premier within any of its live news talk programming. so you're right, these are -- what it does apply to, what it does talk about is the spots that are barter spots. and these are sort of running during the week. and i think -- i suspect, although premier doesn't really talk about why they did this, i suspect that they just want to make sure that nothing happens, that there's no friction on the air involving advertisers. i think it could be written or talked earlier about the situation with concentra. did you talk about that earlier in the show? >> no, we haven't. >> the whole temperature level of this thing is something that the syndicator and rush himself would like to bring down. and as you say, that's why rush had a round of golf today. >> well, how does this bring down the temperature if they just say we're going to suspend national advertising?
i mean, the pressure remains on the advertisers to publicly announce that they won't advertise there anymore, and that's why we've seen this stream of exits of advertisers. and just by taking a day off and then suspending the use of advertising, i guess they think if that advertiser's not being mentioned on the air for two weeks, that advertiser will not get pressure for two weeks to exit rush's show. >> and that could be the case with some advertisers. we have, in this cases in this country, a short attention span, don't we. i think a lot depends on what happens the next few days. this is a fairly arcane area, lawrence. a lot of advertisers don't like to be near controversial or potentially offensive programming. and they will instruct people quietly, please don't put us there. and advertisers move in and out of this all the time. we just don't hear about this. this one we happen to be hearing about.
>> and do you think that two weeks is an amount of time where limbaugh and the syndicators can figure out what their next step is? >> sure. and i think they're now formulating strategy. if you notice the statement late last week when rush refuses to let longtime advertiser who had been with him since he was a local radio talent in sacramento on kfbk, refused that let that advertiser back on the show. that was actually handled by an outside crisis management person. and that's kind of the first time we've seen that. so i think you're seeing them try to get a handle on it. in fact, my headline in the newsletter tomorrow morning is, a rush to chill. that rush limbaugh and premier just want to cool things down for a while and let things quiet down. i wouldn't be surprised if rush gets in some more golf. >> all right. joining me now from new york is michelle goldberg. she is a senior contributing writer for the daily beast" and
newsweek." michelle, will this cool things down? >> no, i mean, i don't see any reason why it would. it seems that the boycott campaign has a lot of momentum. i think it's well over 100 advertisers have pulled out now. and, you know, people kind of smell blood in the water. and at the same time as my colleagues at "the daily beast" reported, you have the huckabee show debuting during the same block with a lot less controversy. and that could replace rush in a lot of markets. >> now, we had jane fonda, gloria steinem calling for the fcc to intervene here. >> yeah. that's just -- >> over the weekend. and it's just one of those things that shows that the anti-rush rhetoric continues to build. the momentum continues to build. we had hillary clinton making a statement about what she calls a kind of global attacks on women, contextualizing limbaugh without mentioning his name. within the global picture that she looks at as secretary of
state, is it your sense -- what is your sense about where we are in the curve of this story? is this still -- >> well, i think that because the story has its own momentum and because it doesn't seem like it's going to abate, that's why i think that calls -- i think calls for fcc action are really misguided for a number of reasons, as much as i admire gloria steinem. but for one thing, i don't think that the feminist movement should be aligning itself with censorship. and beyond that, it just seems like a really bad move at this point to turn rush limbaugh into a free-speech martyr when, you know, the free market that he loves so much is doing a really good job of taking care of him. >> yeah, it seems like -- i mean, we've never seen -- to go back to tom, tom, have we seen an advertising exit like this, a publicly announced advertising exit like this from any radio show? >> no. the last time we saw this sort
of outcry was exactly five years ago. it was march 2007. and it was don imus. >> michelle, on the imus situation there, there wasn't anything about intervening with fcc or anything like that. >> no. >> yeah. there's no reason to get the kind of government censorship involved. i think that rush limbaugh has a right to say these things, and people have a right to tell his sponsors how they feel about it. >> michelle goldberg of "the daily beast" and tom taylor of radioinfo.com, thank you both very much for joining us tonight. >> a pleasure. good evening. coming up, mitt romney's big lie. his very biggest lie is in "the rewrite" tonight. and steve schmidt will come back and give us his reaction to hbo's "game change." >> how's he doing? >> i can't get him to stop watching msnbc which only makes him more miserable. [ woman ] dear cat, gentle cat,
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the political media have a problem. it's a problem the press has always had and has never solved. when should they call a lie a lie? when a candidate like mitt romney who lies much more than most candidates says something that is utterly false, the press will say, it's not accurate. they might even use the word "false." they might use the word "untrue," but they will never, ever use the word "lie," and that is what lying politicians like mitt romney count on every time they try to get away with one of their ridiculous lies. we've shown you in this space just how much of a lie it is when mitt romney insists that he never favored a federal individual mandate for health insurance. but in the silly rules of politics and political coverage, the word "lie" just can't seem to find its place. >> governor romney actually advocated for the massachusetts
model that president obama adopted with mandates and then went out on the campaign trail and repeatedly -- well, he repeatedly told -- didn't tell the truth. he went out and misled voters. he's repeatedly had big-government solutions and then gone out and told the public bald-faced that he didn't do the things that he did. >> there's rick santorum observing the rule of not calling a lie a lie because it just don'ts too impolite, too rough, too rude. no candidate in history has benefited more from this politeness than mitt romney. and now he is betting his entire campaign on it. the campaign released a memo to the press about medicare in which romney says president obama is, quote, ending medicare as we know it, end quote. the one word that best describes that assertion is "lie," but "the new york times" or "the washington post" won't call it a lie.
they fear that word as much as they fear using profanity, and lying politicians like romney know that in a public discussion where his lies will never be called lies, all he has to do is keep spinning the political media because the media are so accepting of lies that they actually invented a word for it to pretend that lying is something else, spinning. the media invented that word to describe lies told to the media. president bvm, like all democrats, is clearly committed to the long-term survival of medicare as we know it. the lying romney campaign points to the $500 billion in cost cutting that president obama and the democrats have done. now, the last democratic president, bill clinton, in his very first piece of legislation involving medicare proposed and enacted, signed into law over $200 million in medicare
spending cuts that did not end medicare as we know it. no one accused him of ending medicare as we knew it. in fact, those cuts, those cost reductions in medicare strengthened medicare's lorge-term solvency. mitt romney has foolishly signed on to a medicare plan advanced by paul ryan that does, indeed, end medicare as we know it. it turns medicare into a voucher program where the government gives you a voucher and wishes you luck. you would have no lifetime guarantee of the kind of medical coverage that every american over 65 has a right to now. is mitt romney knows that their embrace of the ryan plan, although it amuses republican voters in primaries, will destroy the romney campaign in a general election against president obama. the ryan plan will sink romney
versus obama in florida. the romney campaign has clearly decided that they cannot wait until romney gets the nomination to start lying about mitt romney's position on medicare. romney and his handlers also that they will have to lie about president obama's position. the romney medicare lie is the biggest lie the romney campaign will have to tell to have any hope of winning the presidency. today mitt romney staked his campaign on that big lie. the romney campaign memo to the media about medicare is actually a challenge to the media about what to cull mitt romney's big lie. and so there the drama begins. will the media rise to this challenge and call romney's big lie a lie? mitt romney's handlers know the political media very well.
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governor, i admit this is a dysfunctional campaign, but that is what i inherited. and i am doing my level best to help win this election. >> all you're doing is screwing me up. that's all you've done this entire time is get in my why. >> that's woody harrelson as mccain campaign senior adviser steve schmidt and julianne moore as sarah palin. it premiered saturday night on hbo.
rejoining me is steve schmidt. steve, a lot of shocking things in the movie. not just your confrontations with sarah palin, but i've got to ask you, the thing that jumped out to me, did you really have to convince john mccain to stop watching msnbc during the campaign? >> you know, one of the things, lawrence, when you work with, you know, these men or women who are in these situations is, you know, they're interested in seeing and hearing what people are saying about them. and it becomes debilitating. you know, overwhelming amount of information that came in. so i suggested throughout the campaign, not just with msnbc, that maybe the best thing to watch at night was espn. he's a huge sports fan. i thought relax a little bit. focus on people who are actually going to vote, watch, focus on, you know, outside of all the political talk.
and absolutely, i suggested that to him. >> well, i'm impressed that he didn't lock himself in the tv bubble of fox news, but he was on fox news yesterday with chris wallace. he was asked about "game change." he was asked about you. let's listen to that. >> what do you say to one of your top advisers, steve schmidt, who said this is all true? >> i regret that he would make such a statement. >> we'll leave it there. >> boy, i love that answer. he does not say steve schmidt is not telling the truth. >> no, look. i look at -- you know, i watched the movie, and the movie is the truth of what happened in the campaign. and i think there's some important lessons that come out of this movie about how we run campaigns today. senator mccain is someone i admire greatly. he's a great man. and one of the things i think for people who watch the movie, you get a sense of senator mccain's decency, his nobility.
a lot of things that those of us who have been around him, we love him. >> let's look at a scene here with you, woody harrelson, john mccain and julianne moore. >> sir, i can't control her anymore. i don't know if she's getting on a campaign plane early in the morning. we need to finish this campaign with as much dignity as possible, and the only way that can happen is if you get her in line. >> it's not going to do it, steve. she might start turning on me. >> steve, there's a lot i love about this movie including the truth of a moment like that which these elected officials hate personal confrontation, especially at the high level with other officials like that. i felt like i got an explanation about why i've never heard a negative word of any kind from
john mccain about sarah palin? >> well, you know, you look at that scene. you know, obviously in the campaign, i was asking for help. i had lost control of the situation. she wasn't listening to me anymore. i didn't know on any given day if we were going to get the airplane up in the air and where it was going to land, if it was going to land where it was supposed to. whether she was going to give the speech we had talked about. whether she was going to allow the people who were supposed to be on the stage to be on the stage with her. we were trying as hard as we could, a group of us, and i was, trying to get some order back into the campaign. >> steve, i want to take a look at your final moment with sarah palin, and when she wanted to go out and give a concession speech in addition to john mccain's speech. let's look at this. >> governor, this country has just elected the first african-american president in the history of its existence. and it is the concessions speech that will legitimize his
concession as commander in chief. it is a serious and solemn occasion and john mccain and only john mccain will be giving the sacred speech. this is how it has been done in every presidential election since the dawn of the republican, you, sarah palin, will not change the importance of this proud american tradition. >> steve, you got a standing ovation on that climactic scene for your character in the movie. but nicole wallace had another climactic scene where she comes to you and says she couldn't bring herself to vote for this ticket because palin was on it. did you vote for this ticket? >> i did >> and did you have any struggle with that knowing at the time you voted -- what state did you vote in, steve? what was your electoral votes going? >> i voted in california. >> oh, no harm done. there was no chance.
>> i had a sense of what the outcome was going to be. listen, i think john mccain would have been a fine commander in chief. i think he would have been a good president. i didn't hesitate to vote for john. but i certainly respect nicole's position on this and her integrity. you know, as you look at the race, i think there's an important story. as i've said, this is about the collision of idealism and cynicism. this is about the risk that ambition fuels that were made. and i think that we put someone on the ticket who was manifestly not prepared to be absolutely, i suggested that to him. >> i'm impressed he didn't lock himself in the tv bubble of fox news, but he was on fox news yesterday with chris wallace, asked about "game change" asked about you, let's ln